Table of Contents

Branding Chinese Mega-Cities

Branding Chinese Mega-Cities

Policies, Practices and Positioning

Edited by Per Olof Berg and Emma Björner

This interdisciplinary book details the economic, cultural and social background of the development of Chinese mega-cities, as well as presenting the mechanisms of governance and urban growth strategies. Therein, the main discussion centres on the contemporary practice of city branding and development in China in relation to the rest of the world. This includes the way stakeholders and actors are engaged in city branding; the ‘societal forces’ that impact the city branding process; the way cities compete internationally; and how mega-cities build brands to strategically position themselves globally.

Chapter 3: Urban brand systems: an example from the Bohai Sea Economic Zone

Feng Xu, Qiulin Lu, Rui Qi and Jing Li

Subjects: business and management, marketing, urban and regional studies, cities


In China today, the agglomeration of large cities into economic zones is becoming increasingly important as a means of managing rapid urbanization in China, and as a means of handling increased competition between cities due to globalization. This rapid urbanization also accelerates competition for resources between cities. In this context, it is imperative to construct systems of cooperation and exchange between major cities in order to secure cooperation (OECD, 2006). The development of urban agglomerates can be seen as one way to accomplish this, since collaboration between cities in agglomerates eases the competitive pressure on the individual city, and increases the competitiveness of the agglomerate as a whole. However, the opening and globalization of the Chinese economy means that competition and cooperation between cities is not only about economic resources and urban hard power, but also about urban soft power, including urban brands and systems of related brands. Urban agglomerates can be seen as a particular form of mature, spatial, urban organization, i.e., huge urban systems with multiple cores centring on specific axes where specified conditions are likely to be found (Gottman, 1961). In China today, there is a tendency for urban agglomerates to develop a portfolio of city brands related to the hierarchy of the cities in the agglomerate, in order to achieve the desired competitive advantages. In this way, the creation of a joint system of city brands can also promote the integration of cities in the urban agglomerate, and thus become more competitive.

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